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Politics

Turkish-Cypriot Leader Tells UK Foreign Chief Won’t Back Reunification

NICOSIA — Ersin Tatar, the new leader of the Turkish-Cypriot self-declared republic on the occupied side of the island, told the United Kingdom’s visiting Foreign Minister Dominic Raab he won’t discuss reunification.

Tatar, a hardline nationalist who in October, 2020 narrowly ousted moderate Mustafa Akinci, said he will take his marching orders from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who helped him win the post and doesn’t want unity.

Tatar and Erdogan instead want the occupied side recognized as it has remained isolated from the rest of the world since an unlawful Turkish invasion in 1974, decades of diplomatic negotiations failing to bring it together again.

Their meeting came ahead of a so-called 5+1 sitdown that will bring together officials from Cyprus, the occupied side, the United Nations and the three guarantors of security for the divided island: Turkey, Greece and UK, its former Colonial ruler.

"As Raab stated, Britain also wants to carry out some work and initiatives for Turkish-Cypriots," he added, said Turkey’s state-run Anadolu News Agency after their meeting.

"Our position is in full compliance with Turkey. We advocate the cooperation of the two states which live side-by-side based on sovereign equality," he said. "We conveyed to Raab that we are in favor of reaching a result through negotiations in Cyprus,” that don’t include trying yet again for reunification plans.

The last round of talks collapsed in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Akinci and Erdogan said they would never remove a 35,000-strong standing army on the occupied side and wanted the further right of military intervention.

Turkey has also been unlawfully drilling for oil and gas in Cypriot waters but Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades will take part in the upcoming meeting after saying he wouldn’t as long as the energy hunt was still going on.

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